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Take Two

Here's That Rainy Day

 

 

 

Take Two

 

 

Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke's 1953 standard Here's That Rainy Day started out in the Broadway musical Carnival In Flanders. Since then, it has been sung, played and recorded countless times.

Carnival in Flanders was based on a 1934/35 French film La Kermesse Héroïque set in 1616. A review reads: 'A classic of French pre-War cinema, Carnival in Flanders by the great Jacques Feyder is the most devious and cruel satire you might ever come across. Set in early 17th-century Flanders, which had previously been under Spanish rule, the story opens with shots of a busy village preparing for the yearly carnival when the Carnival In Flanders posternews breaks that the Spanish Duke Olivares and his troops plan to stay in town.

At the prospect of looting and raping militia men, the flabby mayor of the well-to-do provincial nest called Boom volunteers, as he puts it, "to sacrifice" himself: his plan to pretend he has just passed away, thus hoping to convince Olivares to bypass the mourning town, is eagerly adopted by his timorous menfolk.

But while the males go about staging the mock funeral, the women, led by the mayor's energetic wife, take over the action and, in turn, decide to "sacrifice" themselves to the soldiers......although you should not expect a formidably audacious experiment in film-making, you will be treated a deliciously immoral chamber piece on sexual banter and other not so politically correct behaviour.'

Largely funded by Bing Crosby, the stage production ran into various difficulties. Wikipedia tells us: 'Carnival in Flanders opened on September 8, 1953 at the New Century Theatre, where it ran for only six performances. ... Critics were enchanted by Oliver Smith's sets and Lucinda Ballard's costumes, inspired by Brueghel paintings, and (Dolores) Gray's lively performance, but universally panned every other aspect of the production.

In his review for The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson wrote "As an actress [Dolores Gray] is authoritative enough to bring down the house with some of the maudlin songs...In the version prepared for the stage by Preston Sturges it is laborious and banal... As usual, the theatre has lavished a lot of wealth and talent on this hokum. Lucinda Ballard has dressed everybody to the nines... Although Oliver Smith's scenery is cluttered and rather desperate, there is certainly a lot of it"... If remembered at all, it is primarily as the source of the Van Heusen-Burke standard "Here's That Rainy Day."

 

 

Maybe I should have saved those left over dreams
Funny, but here's that rainy day
Here's that rainy day they told me about
And I laughed at the thought that it might turn out this way

 

Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1959, but rather than share the lyrics from Dolores Gray or Frank's version, we can watch Sammy Davis Jr sing the song in this video from a concert in Germany in 1969 where he couples the song with My Funny Valentine. It reminds us of just how good he was:

 

 

 

The two versions chosen for this month feature quite different instrumental interpretations of the song. The first is by trumpeter John Faddis playing here with the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet in 1977. The event is from Norman Granz's Jazz In Montreaux. Faddis is using a trumpet similar to the one Gillespie used. Apparently in 1953, Dizzy threw a party for his wife at Snookie's, a club in Manhattan, where his trumpet's bell got bent upward in an accident, but he liked the sound so much he had a special trumpet made with a 45 degree raised bell and it became his trademark. I think this is an outstanding interpretation of the song and there are notes here that 'give me the shivers'.

 

 

 

Where is that worn out wish that I threw aside
After it brought my lover near
It's funny how love becomes a cold rainy day
Funny, that rainy day is here

 

Take two is by the saxophonist Archie Shepp with Horace Parlan (piano), Wayne Dockery (bass) and Steve Mc Craven (drums) from 1994. The notes that go with the video tell the story:

'Last year (2019) on June 25 The New York Times Magazine listed Archie Sheep among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. So many musicians mourned the fiery destruction of their mastertape recordings. We are so glad to have this beautiful memory in our archive. .... The day Archie Shepp entered our little studio in Amsterdam back in 1994 we were aware of the fact that he was, beside a legendary saxophone player, also a pianist, a poet, and a playwright. And during his early years in New York, he participated in Amiri Baraka’s circle and recorded with major figures, such as Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane. We were so exited. Also because Horace Parlan was playing along, known for his contributions to some Charles Mingus recordings.'

'Archie Shepp was a bit grumpy that early morning of the TV recording and wanted a chair. He acted like an old man but he was only 57. Nevertheless his playing had a great impact on us. His sweet, breathy tone could suddenly turn into a massive sound with heavy vibrato and little yelps in the upper register. So tasteful...... in May ... Archie Shepp will be celebrating his 83rd birthday'.

 

 

 


Funny how love becomes a cold rainy day
Funny, that rainy day is here

 

 

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